So, I get very sad when I see big, hulking Christmas trees in the windows of houses, standing dark like the Ghosts of Christmas Trees past. I have no problem with people who keep their trees and lights up all through January as long as they’re lit. But, when I drive by and that Christmas tree stands there in the window, so forlorn and sad, having been the center of attention for those few beautiful weeks; people gazing at it as they sat together, their eyes sparkling; children watching it with anticipation of brightly wrapped gifts stacked beneath it on Christmas morning–sigh. Depressing.
I know I attach feelings onto inanimate objects, and that’s sort of weird, but I think it’s more the feelings it evokes in me. I don’t like neglect of any kind, and I guess that big old tree, whose luster has been lost to those around it, seems neglected. Why not just take an hour or two and tuck it away till it can reclaim its glory next year? Or God forbid it be real, with needles littering the floor, not to mention the fire hazard that is. Be still my overactive imagination!
When I see lights up on houses and trees lit in windows in January, I think about a family from the tiny town we grew up in. They had older children in a far away country working as missionaries, so, long into January their tree stood in their window brightly lit, presents wrapped underneath, as they waited for their beloved kids to come home. I imagine that amazing celebration now, but as a child, I felt bad for the other kids who had to wait to see what Santa brought them.
Now, I believe that’s the truest celebration of Christmas I’ve ever witnessed and what it’s really about–love, sacrifice, and family. When I see the trees up in windows long past Christmas, I remember them, and my mind wonders if maybe that family is waiting on a loved one to come home, too?
We’ve had a lot of snow and bitter cold, and the lights that shine onto the snow from the trees and houses bring joy to my heart. Because, we never really know who is making their way home.